Diamond.com lays off 20 workers

In another sign of dot-com woes, Diamond.com laid off 20 people-or nearly one-fifth of its workforce.

Alan Lipton, president of the sightholder-owned site, says the firings were due to the sluggish economy. ”We still have 80, 81 people working for us,” he says.

He notes the company did $30 million in business last year. 

The site also has its eyes on a ”bricks-and-mortar” location. Among the options considered: Erecting a flagship in New York, or nabbing an existing small chain. The site hopes to have its stores open by the holiday season. 

”We always hear that people can’t see the diamonds before they buy,” says Nicolas Topiol, the site’s chief strategy officer. ”This will help with that.” He adds there will be ”synergies” between the web site and brick-and-mortar outlets. 

The site is also celebrating its recent $500,000 sale-a possible record for jewelry on the Internet. The sale involved a 60.79-carat total weight platinum necklace that was custom-made for a Florida businessman for a 30th anniversary Valentine’s Day gift.

While the sale wasn’t consummated on-line, the man found diamond.com through a search engine and talked with employees about custom-designing the necklace.